In the introduction of this guide divided into five sections, I’ve talked about how blogging supports your business goals and why it should be a key component in driving revenue.
Before jumping into the first step of the process, let’s take an overview at what we have to do.
The process of generating leads with blogging starts with knowing the target audience. “I hear this everyday… could you skip it”
I could skip mentioning it in this post, but I like to learn from mistakes and telling other people how to avoid them. Honestly, I have written enough untargeted content in the early stages of my work at Marketizator and I must admit that it’s costly and frustrating.
You should also be sure that you attract good traffic to your website.
People who have an interest into solving a problem or exploring an opportunity with your product is good traffic. Bad traffic will affect your limited resources of time and energy – if it hasn’t already done it. Bad traffic means attracting the non-consumers of a product, the ones who have no interest in buying or using it ever.
The Ultimate Guide to Blogging for Small Business
3 simple tasks to blogging success
To see things more clear, here are the three tasks that you need to accomplish to start generating leads with business blogging.
Attract traffic to the website
Convince people to subscribe to an email list
Convince subscribers to convert into leads
And that’s all.
Only these three activities should concern you. Any other distraction has to dissappear from your way to be sure that you don’t consume energy and time on things that don’t matter.
Your efforts has to be targeted to moving the users from a stage to another.
The four stages presented above in the image correspond to your marketing efforts. As you see, people who come to your blog from various sources – social media, guest posting, search – are nothing else than strangers. They know nothing about the company, but somehow your content has attracted them to read more.
Once arrived on the company’s blog, strangers become visitors. You should know that Google Analytics is tracking visits, not visitors. A new visit is recorded each time the user is away from the website for at least 30 minutes or returns to the website using a different source than the previous one. For example, if someone arrives on your blog, read the content, leave and return after 30 minutes, you have two visits, but a single user who has made two visits.
The content marketers goal
The content marketer’s goal is to transform the visitor into a subscriber. The aim is getting the email address, being 100% sure that the user wants to give it in return for something valuable to him.
Finally, through various marketing tactics such as funnel optimization, email marketing and landing page optimization, the subscriber will become a qualified lead. That’s the final status that the content marketer has to “offer” to the user who once was just a stranger. Depending on the business model, a lead might mean something different for you: the user who is signing up for a free trial, a demo of the product, a series of paid courses, etc.
I would say that the first step into the process of generating leads for a business with blogging would be data analysis. But this guess is based on the fact that the marketer has already defined his goals and target audience. Otherwise, looking into data without knowing where you want to get is obsolete. Therefore, let’s be sure that you clearly defined goals for your blogging efforts.
1. Creating goals and conversion funnels in Google Analytics
When we’re talking about goals, we often refer to desirable things that we want to achieve. When our goals are not defined clearly, we cannot target our efforts efficiently because we don t know exactly where we want to get. The reason almost all of the career coaches encourage people to draw or write down their goals. Visualization helps us achieve goals.
In our case, we have to divide goals into three types:
- Business goals: I will increase sales by 30%
- Marketing goals: I will increase the number of paid accounts to 1,000
- Website goals: I will generate 5,000 leads using inbound marketing tactics
This is just the first step into defining goals. In this article, I ll focus on the website’s goals, more exactly on creating goals for the blog. This is an easy task at the first sight, but you may have some trouble when Google Analytics is asking you to add a URL for each goal to be tracked or marked as “completed”. Let me show you.
Log in the Google Analytics account and then go to Admin, View, Goals, and Create New Goal.
I have chosen the “Sign Up Goal” only for the sake of the example. With this type of goal you can track the number of subscribers to the Blog’s Newsletter or any email list that has a free offer in the backside.
The last step is adding the URL of the destination. That would be the Thank You Page for subscribing to the Newsletter. You just have to copy the URL from your email service provider (Mailchimp, Aweber, etc.) and paste it in this section:
This is the procedure of creating goals for your blog. If you have multiple lead generation campaigns, you just have to create goals for each of them using the exact simple procedure.
Since you’re reading this blog post, I suppose that your ideal customers need to take a certain number of steps to give you money. Funnels help with seeing the process more clearly and knowing exactly what steps could cause confusion or anxiety to the customers on their path. Therefore, we could use Google Analytics to visualize our goals and track them to achieve positive results more easily. When you know where the problem is, you know where to act.
You can start creating a conversion funnel by enabling the “Funnel” option in the Goal description section when you create Goals.
2. Analyzing the current situation
Once you figured where what you wanted to achieve with your blog and visualized the goals, you can proceed to analyze the current situation. The outcome of analyzing data in Google Analytics has to show you where you have to improve, optimize, change something to achieve your goals. Data analysis starts with identifying the conversion rate of your blogging efforts.
More exactly, you need to figure:
How many blog visitors converted to subscribers
How many subscribers converted to leads
In this case, there are two possible situations.
You have already set up goals and funnels in Google Analytics. In this case, you’ll have to go to Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages. Here, you have to look at Conversions > All Goals and analyze how many people completed the goal. Analyze the top pages that count for 80% of the traffic. These pages are the ones that include the keywords and phrases that generate the largest amount of traffic to the website.
You haven’t set up yet goals and funnel. If you’re doing it right after reading this post, you will have to wait until Google Analytics tracks visits and conversions.
Until now we have talked about the basic procedures that you need to follow in the early stages of generating leads with blogging. It is very common that marketers dive into more advanced tactics to get leads for their business without being sure that they have covered basic aspects such as goal tracking.
Once you have a clear idea about your goals and the way you’re going to achieve them, you have to be sure that you haven’t skipped something important on the way. The missed steps into the process of generating leads with blogging is making the keyword research and, then, the editorial calendar. Here are a few tips about these two planning activities:
Find a balance between the general words and the more specific ones. General keywords are costly, because your competitors cover them too. You have to place yourself in the ideal customer’s mind and think about what would you search for if you have to solve a problem or explore an opportunity.
Test your guesses using the Google’s search bar. Type the identified keywords and look at the first results, both organic and paid.
Test the performance of the chosen words with a Google AdWords Campaign
The role of the keyword research is to help with targeting your content better. Therefore, once you finished doing the research, you have to come up with the so called “long tail words” which are extensions of the target keywords. Let me give you an example from Marketizator. The primary target keyword is conversion rate optimization. Obviously, we couldn’t rely on this keyword because is overly competitive (costly). Therefore, we came up with a list of long tail keywords. One of them is the customer acquisition cost, which is included in the area of conversion rate optimization.
The keyword research has to be followed by creating the editorial calendar. Having a list of long tail words (I recommend using Excel sheets) you can start creating headlines for future blog posts. In our example, “customer acquisition cost” has become “How to lower the customer acquisition cost in # easy steps”. You can proceed with this tactic until you reach the end of the list.
Once you have a list of 20 headlines (they don’t have to be exact in this stage), use a WordPress plugin or other tool to schedule them for the next weeks.
You won’t have to worry anymore about what to write and not even confront the blank screen block that any blogger has faced at least once in their lifetime. :)
PRO Tip: Plugins may decrease the speed at which your website is loading. If you want to avoid it, use Google Calendar(it’s free) to schedule your posts.
Set up goals in Analytics
Create conversion funnels
Analyze how you do against the goals
Make a keywords research
Create an editorial calendar and stick to it
In the next post we’ll get in more advanced tactics that will help with generating leads for your business. I’ll cover one of my favorite topics in online marketing, studying the consumer’s behavior.
You’ll learn how to use surveys to get information that you couldn’t find out with other methods and how to use the insights to create targeted content and distribute it more efficiently.
Author: Elena Dobre is learning about digital marketing, business and life at Marketizator.com, the complete conversion rate optimization tool. She plays the role of the content strategist, but she’s also experiencing with CRO and lead generation. She enjoys discovering new online tools, hacks, brilliant minds and beautiful souls. Follow her on Twitter @HDobre.